Coach John McKee has rung the changes as Fiji look to get off the mark in Pool D of the Rugby World Cup against minnows Uruguay.
McKee has named just three players from the team that started last Saturday’s 39-21 defeat by Australia and will give World Cup debuts to Mesulame Dolokoto, Jale Vatubua and Filipo Nakosi.
Also in the team for Wednesday’s game at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium are Cornwall-born brothers Josh and Sam Matavesi, whose father Sereli was a coconut farmer who settled in the UK after touring with the Fijian Barbarians in the 1980s.
“We are looking first and foremost at picking a strong team for this match and giving some players who didn’t play against Australia an opportunity to come into the game and give some freshness to the team,” McKee said.
“We certainly did a lot of good things against Australia but, in the end, we weren’t good enough to win that match.
“We are on a four-match series to qualify for the play-offs so the Uruguay game is a very important part of that quest.
“We are coming off a short turnaround and it’s their first game so they will have been targeting us.”
Fiji won 47-15 in Milton Keynes in 2015 in their only previous World Cup encounter with Uruguay, who have the youngest average squad in the tournament at 26 years and 79 days.
McKee added: “We did play Uruguay last November in the UK and we know that they are a much-improved side from the team that we played then.
John McKee has his say on what Australia's Michael Cheika said about Fiji and Reece Hodge
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 24, 2019
“They have been together for a while now and their World Cup preparations will have been focused on this match.”
1. Eroni Mawi
2. Mesulame Dolokoto
3. Manasa Saulo
4. Tevita Ratuva
5. Api Ratuniyarawa
6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu (capt.)
7. Mosese Voka
8. Leone Nakarawa
9. Henry Seniloli
10. Josh Matavesi
11. Vereniki Goneva
12. Jale Vatubua
13. Semi Radradra
14. Filipo Nakosi
15. Alivereti Veitokani
16. Tuvere Vugakoto
17. Campese Ma’afu
18. Lee-Roy Atalifo
19. Tevita Cavubati
20. Samuel Matavesi
21. Nikola Matawalu
22. Ben Volavola
23. Levani Botia
Press conference with England winger Joe Cokanasiga and coach Steve Borthwick ahead of the side’s Rugby World Cup match against the USA.
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